Theater Level Tactical Air Warfare Model - TAC THUNDER

U.S. Air Force Center for Studies and Analyses and CACI Advanced Simulation Lab

TAC THUNDER is a two-sided theater-level, stochastic combat simulation and war game. It is designed to assist the analyst studying the impact of policy decisions, such as force positioning, alternative equipment choices, and theater-level tactics.

The model simulates the air war to the level of detail of flight groups on missions. Individual air bases servicing aircraft are modeled. Air-to-air combat is on the flight group level.

Planning for the air war is accomplished by generating air-tasking orders from intelligence collected dynamically in the model. And from air resources, both collected dynamically and input. The missions are flown when aircraft are available.

A ground war is modeled with divisional units. Ground units engage and cause the Forward Line of Troops (FLOT) to move. Logistics are modeled, and the availability of supplies modifies the effectiveness of the units. Command, control, communications, and intelligence (C 3 I) are also modeled, and affect unit effectiveness. Mobility is included and may modify the movement of units and supplies.

The ground war can be attacked from the air. The targets can be units, mobility (choke) points, C 3 I, and supplies in supply bases or convoys. The ground also has air defense and can attack the air. Interactions are computed dynamically.

TAC THUNDER incorporates state-of-the-art modeling techniques that offer high fidelity results to analysts evaluating aircraft systems with alternative munitions, mission areas, force structures and threat scenarios. This model provides the Air Force Chief of Staff for Studies and Analyses with a tool to study the impact of doctrine on strategic tactics and the impact of weapon system parameters on the outcome of conflict. With this tool, the U.S. Air Force is able to conduct the necessary studies prior to commitment of large sums of money for future weapon systems.

The TAC THUNDER Model is continually being upgraded and expanded to meet the needs of current and new users. Two graphics post-processors have recently been added: the TAC THUNDER Situation Map and Grapher.

The Situation map presents a post-analysis or game animation of air and surface movement and attacks. The display of air flights, ground units, flight paths, and targets are user selectable. The Grapher presents user selectable graphics of air-to-air, air-to-surface, surface-to-air, and surface-to-surface combat results. A single analysis or multiple replications can be shown on a single graph.

TAC THUNDER also provides control of ground combat units in the War Game, specific Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses and Standoff Jamming missions, and a Rear Area Network for assessing attacks against follow-on forces and re-supply.

The model contains a detailed inter- and intra-theater airlift module and a primitive inter-theater sealift module. Lift modules can be operated in a stand-alone mode or evaluated under simulated combat conditions, as well as in a push, a pull, or a combined (push and pull) supply environment.

Data and maps currently exist for the following regions:

  • Eastern North Atlantic
  • Mediterranean
  • Western Pacific
  • Central Europe
  • Persian Gulf
  • Korea